If you’re looking for the book that follows Prince Rhen and Harper, this is not that book. If you want to know what happens to Grey and who exactly are these enemies from Syhl Shallow, then this is the book for you.
A Heart so Fierce & Broken is mainly told from two new POVs: Ex Commander of the Guard, Grey and the looked over daughter of Karis Luran, Lia Mara. Grey knows the truth now, he is the true Prince of Emberfall and Rhen’s brother. Before killing Lilith in the mortal world, she told him the truth of his birth and he has fled to try and protect Rhen from this truth. Lia Mara is Karis’s older daughter, but not the one she has picked to be her heir. Karis is also determined to either ally with or rule Emberfall in order to gain access to trade ports and she’s willing to use any tactic she can to get them. Lia Mara despises her mothers violent tendencies and dreams of peace, even if she isn’t certain of how it could be achieved.
While I missed Harper’s voice, I was swept away by both Grey and Lia Mara. I adored their characters and I really loved seeing their character arcs. I loved that Lia Mara was constantly trying to get everyone to stop depending on their weapons. Grey was so much fun and I really liked getting to know him in a role other than Commander of Rhen’s guards. I’ve always been a little conflicted about Rhen as a character and this book definitely didn’t help. He reminded me a bit of Tamlin from ACOMAF and that’s not a good thing. Tamlin is irredeemable in my mind, but Rhen still has some promise at least.
I loved getting to see other parts of Emberfall besides the castle. Grey working as a stable hand was pretty laughable, but his friendship with Tycho was so adorable. Grey also begins to discover his magical abilities and it was so fun to see them develop. We also get to see a lot more of Syhl Shallow as a country and not just an enemy. I loved the relationship between Lia Mara and her sister, Nola Verin. While it was strained, I could tell how much they cared for each other.
I wasn’t completely swayed by the romance in the beginning, especially since Grey was a bit hung up on Harper. But seeing Lia Mara and Grey become friends and beginning to rely on each other was so wonderful. They had a lot of fun banter too. The ending to this was one part THANK GOD and another part WTF JUST HAPPENED. I can’t wait to see what will happen in the third and final book. I’m really hoping it will be narrated by Harper and Grey at the very least.